Unique job opportunity with GateHouse Media

Here is a chance to do something completely different.

GateHouse Media is looking for two ambitious, entrepreneurial individuals to help us reinvent local journalism.

The ideal candidate:

  • A recent college graduate (or graduating this spring)
  • At least six months experience blogging
  • Capable of shooting and editing his or her own video
  • Ready to do more than sit in an office and make phone calls or pull the latest agenda item from a city council meeting and try to turn it into a story
  • Believes in local news and local community and sees a role for journalism in helping a community communicate and learn about what is happening in that community

In this job, you will have a chance to define a new role for community journalists. You will be doing more than trying to shove five W’s and an H into an inverted pyramid. This job is about figuring out what a community of people really wants from its local community site.

What we’re looking for is people who can work on their own, willing to try new things and not be bound “that’s how it’s always been done.”  You will be expected to be responsible for coming up with new ideas for your site, both in coverage and presentation, and for growing audience.

We will provide you with the technology and tools to get the job done.  We will expect you to grow readership and participation.

Chances are you will be required to relocate.

Applicants should e-mail me at howens -at- gatehouse media (oneword) dot com.

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  • DT

    And, we’ll be asking you to do this for $20,000-$25,000 in an area where the cost of living means an apartment for $700-800 a month.

    Sounds exciting. It would be fun and challenging. But what’s the pay to grow that readership?

    “recent college graduate” kills the deal, Howard.

    You might as well be blunt and say: We’re looking for someone we can pay a waiter’s salary (actually less) to work 40 plus hours a week under a high-stress environment, but it will be different and fun. We can’t do anything about the fact you’ll still be eating Ramen Noodles fresh out of college.

    You won’t make a name for yourself outside this itty-bitty community, and we doubt it will do much to brighten your resume, but it’s “different.”

    Yes, we are looking to you for help in an industry where readership and advertising is dropping drastically. And if you succeed, you may get paid $27,000 before we fire you or you leave for greener pastures.

    Yet, we have this grand idea that hyper local journalism will work when we pay you McDonald’s assistant manager salary (actually less) realizing that we will never have any consistency with this position because no one can make a real, comfortable living on such pay.

    And then, we’ll have to start this project over and over and it will never work because you can’t keep anyone in the job. In order to make it work, the person has to stay and remain at the paper for a long time so that the community knows the person well and forms relationships and trust.

    I am assuming, but, then again, “recent college graduate” says it all.

  • http://www.howardowens.com/ Howard Owens

    @ DT Yeah, “recent college grad” says it all. What a laugh.

    No, what it says I don’t want somebody who has had to spend four years sitting in a cube next to the DT’s of the world. That’s all it says.

    Obviously, I’m not going to publicly discuss money, but let me just say, my #1 priority in looking for a college grad has a lot more to do with fresh attitudes and perspectives than with money.

  • EB

    You know who would be great for one of these jobs? One of the handful that GateHouse just laid off in New England.

  • DT

    Fresh attitude and perspectives?
    Give me a break Howard, give me a break.

    Instead of attacking me, face the reality of it. Gatehouse’s little idea will NEVER work because no one will stay on the job at the ridiculous pay GAtehouse plans to offer (college grad kills the deal and says it all). You’re looking for super local news coverage in a community, yet GAtehouse will never be able to keep the reporter there because he or she would not be able to make a living. How can you do super local coverage when you’re switching out reporters every year to stay at that budgeted salary of $22,000-$25,000?

    That’s the reality of it. Good luck.

  • http://www.howardowens.com/ Howard Owens

    DT, you haven’t a clue …

  • Backing DT

    How do you think those recently layed off by GHM will feel about this post?
    And DT is right, how are you going to retain someone long enough to know if this works?
    A better idea might be to set someone up with their own shop (web site) and let them have a hand in the profits.

  • http://www.howardowens.com/ Howard Owens

    These are tough times for the industry. I’m not supposed to try and pursue new and innovative products that could potentially create great opportunities for journalists just because these are tough times?

    That’s silly.

    And, I’m not at all worried about being able to retain top quality people (assuming, of course, this is successful).

  • EB

    It’s not silly, Howard. It’s a legitimate problem. Newspaper people are getting laid off all over the place and GateHouse is giving you two whole positions to play with. It’s that kind of stuff that’s destroying newsroom morale.

    We’re dealing with complaints from readers who ask why we don’t cover their towns like we used to (due, of course, to staff cutbacks). What are we supposed to say? “But we’ve got some great online videos.”

    If GateHouse has the money to hire new reporters, it shouldn’t have gotten rid of the ones it had in the first place.

  • http://www.howardowens.com/ Howard Owens

    Does the term apples and oranges ring a bell?

    You know absolutely nothing about the business plan. You haven’t a clue about how these positions are being funded.

    Yet you feel free to spout off as if you do.

    You want to know how many jobs would be brought back or created in New England if we didn’t do this project? Try, zero. Absolutely none. Zilch. Nada. Get it? There is no connection whatsoever.

    Yet, if we do this and it is successful, we could potentially create many, many more journalism jobs.

    So, if don’t do it: No jobs saved, none created.

    Do it, potentially many more jobs created.

    So what’s the better business decision?

  • Backing DT

    What about my profit-sharing question?
    Don’t you think it’s a bad idea to joust with employees in this forum?
    Morale has to be somewhat of an issue, and that doesn’t help.

  • http://www.howardowens.com/ Howard Owens

    To your first question, I’m not going to publicly discuss staff compensation in any sort of detail.

    Would it be better if I left your uninformed opinions unanswered? How would that be for morale to let hang out there assumptions and assertions that have no basis in reality?

  • EB

    Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize GateHouse had a “business plan.” That’s reassuring, because all the plans GateHouse has tried so far have worked so well.

    Why don’t you share this business plan with us? When GateHouse laid off people in New England, there wasn’t even a company-wide email sent out. From my perspective it looks like the plan involves laying off the veterans and replacing them with college kids.

    You dismiss our opinions as “uninformed” but a lot of us have been around newspapers for a long time and know a thing or two about the business and our readers. Just because we don’t share your faith that blogs and videos will save the industry doesn’t mean we don’t have something meaningful to say.

    You can create as many jobs as you want. We want to know if the jobs we currently have are safe.

  • http://www.howardowens.com/ Howard Owens

    EB, this is the last time I’m going to respond … just to say again, you’re mixing apples and oranges. All I said was that your words expressed on this subject in this thread were uninformed. That’s all I said.

    Anything else that you would like to discuss, give me a call any time. If you and your colleagues would like to meet and discuss anything, set up an appointment for us the next time I’m in New England.

  • It’s All About Depth

    Newspapers have to invest in new projects and try new ideas. No question. And yes, sometimes that involves downsizing in one area while growing in another. (Though I venture a guess that capital to investment could be found in other ways.)

    It seems to me, though, that EB and DT simply have issues with the idea that you have to be barely out of college to be able to embrace the challenges of the future. To innovate. To create the new era in your industry.

    This is very much germane to the topic. Rather than dismissing mid-career journalists, why don’t you ask yourself – “why CAN’T we get experienced professionals to get excited about our ‘plan'”?

    Yep, I know. Just another clueless mid-career journalist, right, Howard?.

  • http://www.howardowens.com/ Howard Owens

    Well, that’s not what I heard them saying. What I heard DT saying particularly that the college grad issue is about money. No where does he or she volunteer that he or she could do the job equally well. ET doesn’t directly address that issue, either.

    But since you do, think about this: You’re a mid-career professional, settled in a community with a steady paycheck. Are you ready to take a job that is entirely experimental? Would it be responsible of me to lift you out of a position like that for an entirely experimental job?

    Any business start-up runs the risk of failure.

    Most recent grads know that they will likely need to relocate to get their first journalism job. While some have roots in communities that they’re not going to give up, many are ready, willing and able to move without much sacrifice.

    (fwiw: if it doesn’t work out, nobody will be stranded in a town they no longer want to live in with no job prospects — we’ll do the right thing by them)

    Granted, there is an element to my thinking that a recent college grad might have less newsroom baggage around how a journalism job should be performed, but as another commenter pointed out to me elsewhere, I totally changed my thinking as a mid-career professional, and now have completely different ideas about journalism than I did 10 years ago — others can change, and have, too.

    I’ve received two resumes from mid-career professionals who appear to be great candidates for this job and they are certainly in the running. I have about six resumes so far over all, and they’re all great candidates. This is going to be one of the toughest hiring decisions I’ve ever had to make. And getting the right people at this stage is so critical.

    You would think that most people who read a job ad would know — they’re written to encourage people who might not think otherwise that they were a good fit for the job to apply (and people apply all the time for jobs where they’re not a 100 percent fit and they still get the job, because they have other strengths) … I don’t want a college grad to think, “oh, this job is too much of a dream job (and it is, in its way) that it’s certainly going to go to somebody with more experience.” Experience isn’t a factor. Mindset (and it’s not even really about skill set), and a willingness to go beyond traditional journalism thinking that is critically important.

    Way too much has been made out of this first bullet point, and purely from an assumption-laden, hyper-sensitive, eagerness to misunderstand rather than think it through fully. That’s just been very frustrating for me. I’m trying to do something good and positive for our industry, and people want to get all worked up about it. That amazes me. It just strikes me as a desire to live in the past rather than look to the future.

  • http://cyndygreen.wordpress.com/ cyndy green

    When I saw the posting my first thought was – why NOT experienced journalists/photogs…then I realized you were looking for passion and fresh blood. I know many VJs in broadcast who would make the leap if they could (and yes salary is an issue for the more experienced) to a job that would give them freedom to experiment and become creative again. You do have the right idea…what was lacking in Canton was passion…I saw one or two folks who were intrigued and willing to try video…having the evangelist on staff may help spread the passion (and help with the training).

  • It’s All About Depth

    I appreciate your response. Journalists in general have a passive-aggressive trait and it’s exacerbated by the industry’s current state.

    One perspective I would share with you (and it appears you’re already there) is that there are plenty of smart mid-career journalists out there, just itching to help lead the way to a new era. These are people with passion who care deeply about the business and want it to survive.

    Certainly some have their head in the sand. Others
    just want to attach to a vision that says, at minimum, “what you were trained to do is still important and relevant. It just needs to be applied in a different way.”

    It would be a real tragedy if the industry were to paint this group as universally out of touch. I’m comforted that you do not appear to be doing that.

  • Walter Wellman

    Recent college grad = fresh ideas. The rest sat in cubicles? This smells of age discrimination.

  • http://www.howardowens.com/ Howard Owens

    Only if you think of college grad=young (I’ve worked with cub reporters/recent grads who were in their 40s), or that it is a strict requirement rather than a pointer for mindset.

  • Walter Wellman

    Although your response smacks of being disingenuous, perhaps the best thing is to wait and see. The proof will be in blogger’s pudding.

    Not many young cubs know the community, unless you are lucky enough to find one who grew up there. If you look closely you can trace the decline of newspapers parallel to there hiring practices changing from local talent to people from out of town.